Review: The War of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre

“I can’t believe people were sat there as if it was any other evening” 

You have to love the creative process that ends with the thought ‘we need Jimmy Nail’, but Jeff Wayne’s musical version of The War of the Worlds really isn’t like any other show. A quick glimpse at the casts of previous arena tours, of which there have been many, gives a bit of insight as to their mindset – (former) pop stars like Westlife’s Brian McFadden, Jason Donovan and Atomic Kitten’s Liz McClarnon, reality show offcasts like Rhydian, even the Kaiser Chiefs’ Ricky Wilson – now a judge on The Voice – has got in on the act. And now The War of the Worlds has landed at the Dominion Theatre and the casting has gotten no less random.

This time, I think someone came across a copy of Now 51 in a charity shop and so we have Daniel Bedingfield and former Sugababe Heidi Range making their West End debuts, alongside original cast member David Essex (whose character is naturally named The Voice of Humanity), Michael Praed and Madalena Alberto who, as per the poster, has the ridiculous snub of being the only one not to get a headshot (though she will be used to billing controversies in this theatre by now). And then there’s Jimmy Nail who at 61 gets Range, 32, as his wife…, it all makes for an oddly compelling though deeply strange affair.  Continue reading “Review: The War of the Worlds, Dominion Theatre”

Review: Two Into One, Menier Chocolate Factory

“There’s far too much sex in this hotel and I’m not having any of it”

The things I do for Josefina Gabrielle… Whilst I am more than happy to revisit the Chocolate Factory once Gabrielle joins up in the major cast change soon, I had to be dragged to the Menier Chocolate Factory to see her in Ray Cooney’s Two Into One, my natural aversion to farce meaning I was more than happy to give it a miss. But a cheap deal on tickets plus the promise of gin saw me head out on a Sunday and have the slightly depressing inevitability of my preconceptions being proven right.

If we’re to believe scions of our national press, this is “a classic farce” and if we don’t like (or the genre as a whole), we’re “sourpusses…more to be pitied than censured”. Which says it all really. If you’re of a certain generation, as much of this audience was, and brought on a certain style of humour, then Ray Cooney will be right up your street. And a thirty year old political farce which makes no concession for the time past since it was written will more than likely have you chortling down the aisles. Continue reading “Review: Two Into One, Menier Chocolate Factory”